Data Converters or Data Guiders?

July 17, 2017 Geoffroy De Lestrange


Data management is not just a topic for IT experts as it is no longer a matter of statistics. More and more devices are being networked – both at work and in private life. The device of the future now gives the heating at home a signal, which pre-warms your flat based on your remaining travel time.  We now have intelligent loudspeakers in the office and coffee machines that know when fresh beans have to be ordered again – and  can order them over the cloud.


What about HR?


In the open economy, companies need to adapt and enable the transfer of knowledge. But this is the key point, which probably also causes many companies to have problems with adaptation and transparency. The more networked the offices are, and no longer stuck between four walls, the higher the security risks in the field of data management. 


The open economy also goes hand in hand with the change of classical working conditions. Instead of long-term contracts, there will be more and more freelancers. On the one hand, this is in the hands of the companies, as they are able to work with more agility, but there is also the risk that internal information might reach the outside due to the fluctuation and lack of commitment to the organisation employees now have.


Employees themselves are also becoming more connected through the Internet of Things, and this means that the boundaries between the digital and the real analogous world will continue to fade. But how can we imagine the applications of this for HR?


Smartworking - Smart HRM


In a study on the topic, the University of Saarland recently found that the classic human resource management will be replaced by the spread of the internet of things by a kind of Smart HRM. Several HR experts were interviewed and said that global networking will have a significant impact on learning, HCM and talent management. It is, for example, conceivable that employees will in the future be equipped with "smart tools" such as sensorised ballpoint pens or wearables such as "smart bracelets". Yes, even "smart shoes" are conceivable, which transmit information – for example, when it comes to measuring what distances the employees can go daily and whether these proverbial work steps can be shortened. 


However, if these data relate to people, such as employees or customers, the task is to control them. This means that the storage of this kind of data should be discussed with the relevant experts, such as the data protection officer. The actual use and evaluation of the information should also be done in close coordination with data protection and also with co-determination bodies. This is because the data generated may lead to information about social skills such as teamwork or communicative competences of employees. By integrating stakeholders, management will be able to develop a balanced data driven HR strategy, which is limited to the efficient use of the necessary data.


In this way, a great deal of modernisation pressure is created for many companies to adapt their personnel management technologies and positions for future changes. So far, however, many HR experts have not agreed on whether the Internet of Things is also a relevant development for personnel management – and this has to change. 


The only question is, will HR become a strategic business partner? Or resist change?


About the Author

Geoffroy De Lestrange

Product Marketing & Communication Director EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand

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